Out Of The Rain

It’s raining. And I’m going to spend the day in the library.

It’s raining. And I’m spending all day at the library.

Old George still leading the way.
Old George still leading the way.

Some of you might think that’s not very exciting – but I do. I can’t remember the last time my schedule allowed time to go the library, to write a blog, or to read a book. What a luxury it is to have time to read!

Which reminds me, I have one last hymn of praise for the humble town of Placerville. If you go, visit The Bookery. It’s three big rooms of beautiful used books in perfect alphabetical order. I bought, America – Classics That Defined The Nation, an anthology of short stories. It was recommended by Edward, he sorta runs the place. He also told me about the DeLorme Atlas Publications, which include details of the road less taken. If you bump into Edward, say hello from Palettefoot.

Go Jump In A Lake

Only a stone’s throw from Nevada and the sublime experience of riding the country’s ‘Loneliest Road’. It made my delay in South Tahoe not entirely unwelcome.

Only a stone’s throw from Nevada, with the country’s ‘Loneliest Road’ just ahead, my delay in South Tahoe was not entirely unwelcome.

The automated answering service, at the DMV in Sacramento, had a call back time between twelve and twenty-four hours. The wait time at a neighboring small town DMV was a lot less, so I went there. The title and registration couldn’t wait, it had to get done before leaving California – and this was my last chance.

With an appointment for the following day, I had some time to kill. I rode the south shore of the lake and met a nice lady who’s been riding since 1968. Her husband was a famous Triumph motorcycle mechanic and aficionado. It was comforting to hear her stories about their numerous and how she felt it was a very safe way to travel. They rode several times across the country, as well as trips to Alaska and South America. She had an unlikely biker look about her – you’d think she was a high school English teacher, before you ever imagined she use to race motorcycles.

She was a teacher, though, she was a college professor of Chemistry and Physics.

A surprising amount of people have nostalgic feelings for motorcycles. It’s not just the bearded old goats who like to talk about bikes…the most unsuspecting characters do as well. The locksmith in Woodland, or the kindly old gent behind the counter at the hardware store… and now the Chemistry professor in South Lake Tahoe –– all of them share an common affection –– motorcycles.

And maybe I’m becoming one of them.

The Oldest In The West

Placerville, California – Home to three of oldest existing businesses west of the Mississippi.

Placerville is a modest town, yet it’s home to three of the oldest businesses West of the Mississippi.


Because the Mountain Democrat was first published on July 12, 1851 – does that make all the news in that paper old news? Apparently not. Things happened then, that still happen now. Except, today, news featured in the section called, Prospecting, no longer causes a frenzy.

Placerville Hardware – June 19, 1852, is definitely worth a visit – even if you don’t need a thing. How comforting it is knowing there are two stores still on this planet that truly have everything – Placerville Hardware, and Avenue Hardware, naturally.

Of course, I needed a few things for the bike, and the kindly gent behind the counter was happy to find them for me. One item was rubber material to prevent the spare fuel tank bracket from shafing through the chrome on my new luggage rack. He went way above board and punched holes in the rubber to run the bolts through. Not only did he take the time to punch the holes  – he made sure they were the perfect sized holes. And they had a perfect sized square of rubber material in a box on the shelf – What a place!

Randolph Jewelers was founded in July 1852. Had no reason to go in, regrettably, because it’s my guess they may have had a few stories about gold and the role it played in the region.



Shade-TreeA meander down Hwy 49 was next on the list – the highway was named after the year of the Gold Rush. I got my first taste of winding country roads here. The bike handled great. I stopped once to sketch a few cows sitting under a tree beside the road – of course they got up and moved to another tree before I could get set up. It was a great day for riding, anyway.


Back in town – I learned that Merle Haggard died. This guy playing his guitar (click on image) was mourning one of his heroes. He pay much attention to me…he just kept playing Merle Haggard songs.

Great antique stores run up and down Main street. Placerville is worth a visit just for that!